Resources for Virtualizing SharePoint 2010

As more organizations seek to reduce operating and capital expenditures, solve the challenges of datacenter density, and provide elasticity to their SharePoint deployments – virtualization becomes the focal point of discussion.  SharePoint 2010 provides more flexibility in support of virtualization and similar to other server technologies requires proper planning to ensure those goals are met.

SharePoint 2010 Virtualization

Support and Licensing

[All elements of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 are fully supported when deployed in a Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V technology environment. In addition, any related or required supporting technologies are also supported.]

[Support for SharePoint Server 2010 virtualization includes third-party virtualization technologies that are hosted or hardware-based, and certified by Microsoft. For more information about certification and participating vendors, see the Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) (]

[Every element of a SharePoint farm that is installed on a virtual machine must comply with the licensing requirements for SharePoint Server 2010 as well as related and supporting technologies.]

Source: TechNet Library


Prior to planning the physical architecture, a thoroughly planned and designed logical architecture should exist through which the physical architecture will ultimately be determined, and subsequently the underlying virtualization architecture.

Architecture Resources

Virtualization Resource Center (SharePoint Server 2010)

This SharePoint 2010 Resource Center provides information about Hyper-V to help you learn about virtualization, in addition to articles and models to help you plan for, deploy, and use Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 in a virtual environment.

Virtualization Planning (SharePoint Server 2010)

This TechNet article contains information designed to help you plan and implement a server virtualization solution for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 server farms.

Plan virtual architectures (SharePoint Server 2010)

This TechNet article discusses key considerations for planning virtual architectures by using Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 server roles. This article does not include performance or capacity planning data or recommendations. It describes general guidance for planning virtual environments and includes example architectures for small, medium, and large size farms.

Plan for virtualization (SharePoint Server 2010)

This TechNet article describes the planning process to follow in order to successfully deploy Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 in a virtual environment.

Capacity Management and High Availability in a Virtual Environment (SharePoint Server 2010)

This TechNet article provides information about capacity management and high availability for a virtual environment hosting Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

Physical Architecture (SharePoint Server 2010)

This TechNet article describes the SharePoint 2010 physical architecture, which consists of one or more servers and the network infrastructure, enables you to implement the logical architecture for a SharePoint Server solution.

Business Continuity Management

Business continuity management plans will become slightly more complex to support the additional server roles that become part of the deployment, the host servers.  Business continuity management plans should include both the virtualization architecture and SharePoint 2010 taking both into consideration as server machines are distributed across the virtualization architecture.

Business Continuity Management Resources

Business Continuity Management Resource Center (SharePoint Server 2010)

This SharePoint 2010 Resource Center contains resources to help you set your business continuity management strategy, including backup and recovery, availability and disaster recovery, and versioning and item-level recovery.

Hyper-V: Using Hyper-V and Failover Clustering

This TechNet guide walks you through the steps required to set up Hyper-V™ and the Failover Clustering feature to use these two technologies together.

Capacity Management and High Availability in a Virtual Environment (SharePoint Server 2010)

This TechNet article provides information about capacity management and high availability for a virtual environment hosting Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

Planning for Backup (Hyper-V)

When you plan a backup and recovery strategy for a virtualized server environment, there are several factors to consider. You must consider the different types of backups you can make, the state of the virtual machine, and the type of storage being used by the virtual machines. This TechNet article discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and considerations for these factors.

SQL Server Virtualization

Support and Licensing

SQL Server 2008 Support and Licensing FAQ’s can be viewed at SQL Server 2008 Virtualization FAQ.

SQL Server Virtualization Resources

SQL Server 2008 Virtualization

High Performance SQL Server Workloads on Hyper-V

This whitepaper describes the advantages of deploying Microsoft SQL Server database application workloads to a virtualization environment using Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.  It demonstrates that Hyper-V provides the performance and scalability needed to run complex SQL Server workloads in certain scenarios.

Running SQL Server 2008 in a Hyper-V Environment – Best Practices and Performance Recommendations

This document addresses right-sizing hardware to consolidate workloads and capacity planning challenges of running Microsoft SQL Server in a Hyper-V environment to include:

  • System resource overhead imposed by running SQL Server in a Hyper-V environment
  • How well Hyper-V scales running SQL Server 2008

This whitepaper describes the series of test configurations run, which represented a variety of possible scenarios involving SQL Server running in Hyper-V.  The paper discusses the results and observations, and it also presents recommendations.

Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server Mixed Workload on Microsoft Hyper-V and NetApp Fabric MetroCluster

This document showcases the simplicity of architecting a robust infrastructure with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V in a virtual environment with NetApp storage, to provide the ability to maintain HA for both the computing and storage resources between the primary and secondary sites and complete disaster recovery in the event of the loss of a whole site.

The Benefits of Virtualizing Microsoft SQL Server in Hitachi Storage Environments

This paper discusses the specific benefits that organizations can achieve by virtualizing Microsoft SQL Server in Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage or Hitachi Universal Storage Platform environments.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Server Consolidation

Additional Resources

TechNet Webcast: Microsoft Virtualization Best Practices for SharePoint (Level 200)

TechNet Webcast: Deep Dive – Microsoft Virtualization Best Practices for SharePoint 2010 (Level 300)

Blog Post: SharePoint Virtualization Notes

Multi-tenancy in SharePoint 2010

The traditional and most accurate definition of multi-tenancy remains as a single instance of software that services multiple organizations or clients virtually partitioning its data and configuration allowing those clients to work within a customized application instance. SharePoint Server 2010 delivers new features and capabilities that contribute to supporting true multitenant architectures that are useful not only to hosting providers, but the Enterprise equally.

Multi-tenancy, when carefully planned and applied within the Enterprise, is one of many solutions that contribute to reduced cost, complexity, and overall management.

An airport is an example of multi-tenancy:

  • The airport provides the facilities to support operations and services such as concourses and terminals
  • Gates are rented by each airline from the airport authority, some airlines may rent an entire terminal building in their "hub" airport
  • Private companies contracted by one or more airlines at an airport provide food and beverage services to the airlines in addition to aircraft maintenance


In summary the airport authority provides the foundation to support the overall operations and airlines are tenants of the airport authority.

Similarly in SharePoint Server 2010, the organization provides the basic services required to support one or more solutions through SharePoint Server 2010 – the IT Professional creates tenants and delegates administrative control and routine operations to a tenant administrator who consumes services from the core offering provided by the organization.

In SharePoint 2010 multi-tenancy is offered through several key contributing solutions:

Site Subscriptions

Site subscriptions can be loosely described as a collection of sites that subscribe to a set of service partitions, settings, and individual features – site subscriptions are also known as tenants. In summary we can approach site subscriptions as a loose association of content. In the Object Model site subscriptions are represented through Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSiteSubscription.

Tenant Administration

The management of site subscriptions occurs through a new administration site template, Tenant Administration, which is used to manage many aspects of the site collections that subscribe from the subscription.

Creating a new site subscription object in SharePoint Server 2010 requires an administrator to:

  1. Create a SPSiteSubscription object
  2. Create and add a SPSite object to the SPSiteSubscription

Feature Packs

Feature Packs are a method by which allows the developer to group a collection of individual features (Site or Web scoped) into a larger overall package. Feature Packs are used to provide functionality or capabilities to individual site subscriptions in a multi-tenant model enabling or preventing access to certain functionality or solutions on a tenant by tenant basis.


Data, usage, and operational isolation are provided through many of these new capabilities. The ability to partition many of SharePoint 2010’s Service Applications enable individual and unique tenants to consume the Service Application while maintaining logical separation from other tenants also consuming from the partitioned Service Application.

Creating a new partitioned Service Application in SharePoint Server 2010 requires an administrator to:

  1. Create a partitioned Service Application using the -partitionmode flag
  2. Create a partitioned Service Application proxy using the -partitionmode flag

Multi-tenancy in SharePoint Server 2010 is a method by which both traditional hosters and Enterprises can gain value in both operation and data isolation.  Properly planned and implemented can help reduce operating expenditures and reduce the administrative burden on the IT Professional.